Repairs and restoration of electricity to citizens are underway after a major storm swept through the area late Saturday evening into Sunday morning, uprooting trees and leaving many in the dark.
Severe weather included wind gusts recorded at over 90 miles per hours, caused major outages in the northern part of Okmulgee County, but did the most damage in the Tulsa area. McAlester was also hard hit from the storms.
Damage was reported across Okmulgee County. Sheriff Eddy Rice, serving as interim Okmulgee County Emergency Management Director, gave a report during the commissioner’s meeting Monday morning about the damage in the area.
Rice stated, there was quite a bit of wind damage, and lots of trees that were down all over the county. He said that OG&E had approximately 400,000 people without power as a result of the “major infrastructure damage” and said that it would be some time before they would get their system back up.
Customers near Beggs and in the Nuyaka area dealt not only with loss of power, but also water outages due to equipment failing due to lack of electricity.
Rural Water District 7 provided a water buffalo to assist customers who didn’t have water service.
Crews were working tirelessly to get power restored to customers.
Two major power providers, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OGE), reported that almost 300,000 customers were without power following the storms.
PSO sustained substantial damage to their grid including transmission structures, more than 700 broken poles, cross-arms, and downed wires.
Rural electric provider East Central Electric kept members up-to-date as repairs were being made. At least 13,900 customers were without power after the storm, with that number dropping steadily as repairs were made. The company enlisted aid from several state coops and out-of-state crews who helped restore power to their members.
In a media post, East Central Electric thanked crews from Kay Electric Cooperative, Sedgwick County Electric Cooperative, and Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative.
“More than one third of PSO customers have been impacted by severe storms that occurred over the weekend. Crews are working in our Tulsa and McAlester districts simultaneously. However, the Tulsa Metro area sustained extensive damage, and it will take longer to make repairs.”
PSO shared the following information:
• At the height of the storm, 204,677 customers were without power.
• Approximately 57,486 customers have been restored.
• As of 7 p.m. Monday night, outages were concentrated in the Tulsa area, and 147,191 customers remain without power.
• PSO had commitments from more than 2,700 off-system workers – line workers, forestry and support personnel – some coming from as far away as New Jersey and Delaware. Most of them arrived Monday. This in addition to the 700 PSO and local business partners who have been working since the storm subsided.
The outages are “the most significant restoration event” since an ice storm severely damaged the grid in 2007, PSO said. It will take several days to recover power.
OG&E reported late Monday that power had been restored to at least 82 percent of their customers. The work in western Oklahoma was complete and 90 percent of the Oklahoma City metro is restored.
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is asking residents impacted by the recent storms to report damages to their property at damage. ok.gov. Reporting damage helps local and state emergency managers better coordinate response and recovery efforts. Residents can report damage to homes, businesses or agriculture through the online survey.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.